The secreted aspartic proteinases (SAP) of Candida sp. are presumed to be potential virulence factors. In the opportunistic pathogen Candida albicans the proteinase genes identified to date, SAP1, SAP2, SAP3 and SAP4, constitute a multigene family. Before addressing the possible role of each proteinase in virulence, we sought to isolate all the members of this multigene family by screening a genomic library with a SAP1 probe for additional C. albicans SAP genes using low-stringency hybridization conditions. Three putative new members, SAP5, SAP6 and SAP7 were isolated and sequenced. The N-terminal segments of the deduced amino acid sequences of SAP5 and SAP6 contained secretion signal sequences similar to those of other Candida SAPs. Upon comparison and alignment with the other reported SAP amino acid sequences, SAP7 is not only the most divergent protein but also exhibits a much longer putative pro-sequence with a single Lys-Lys putative processing site. Using SAP1 to SAP7 as probes, the overall number of SAP genes in C. albicans was tentatively estimated by low-stringency hybridization to EcoRI-digested genomic DNA. While each isolated SAP gene could be assigned to distinct EcoRI bands, the existence of two additional genes not isolated after screening of the C. albicans gene library was inferred. Furthermore, evidence was obtained for the existence of SAP muttigene families in other Candida species such as C. tropicalis, C. parapsilosis and C. guiller-mondii.